“Flavors of Malaysia” for Recipes & the Region’s Historical Culinary Origins

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I met a very warm and inspiring woman named Susheela Raghavan at the New York Times Travel Show, who was born in Klang, near the capital of Malaysia.

Her background is in food science – it was her inviting smile that brought me over, that and the vivacious colors of her cookbook Flavors of Malaysia. Although I haven’t seen the book yet or tried any of the recipes (hope to soon), there are more than 150 authentic, easy-to-follow recipes with a 16-page color insert. Not only does it include a step-by-step guide to yummy Malaysian cuisine, but it covers Malaysian history and its culinary origins.

Flavors of Malaysia celebrates the best of the Malaysian table so to speak, from sizzling satays, flavorful stir-fries, fragrant rice and noodle dishes, aromatic curries and spicy condiments, that for anyone who has been there will recall with eager tummies.

Historically, Malaysia was a major center of the spice trade in Southeast Asia. Over time, Malay, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Indonesian and Arab, as well as Dutch, Portuguese and British influences blended to create the melange of cultures of Malaysian cuisine today.

I told Susheela a funny story that on my first and only trip to Malaysia many years ago, my ex-boyfriend and I extended our trip, saying longer in Penang, for nothing other than the food.

For four additional days, we ate and ate and ate, dreading the day we had to jump on an airplane for less culinary skies.

Her site is Taste of Malacca.com and her blog is over at adventuresinfoodandculture.com, so be sure to check them out and if you have a craving for some Malaysian specialties, give her book Flavors of Malaysia a try.


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